The BBC has been subjected to some serious criticism over its plans to encrypt high definition (HD) Freeview content, with some HD content providers claiming that the move will effectually copyright free BBC content.
Under the plans submitted to data watchdog Ofcom, the BBC has urged to have rights to encrypt certain data on set top boxes, and only reliable manufacturers would be given decryption keys of such data.
The move has been condemned by various opponents, including Labour MP Tom Watson, saying that it would presumably restrict consumer choices.
The corporation claims it has made the request to Ofcom in its reaction to incessant pressure from content rights holders to introduce copy protection on all its HD broadcast offerings.
As per the licensing rules, the BBC isn’t simply allowed to encrypt any transmissions of audio or video content because of its public status.
Henceforth, the broadcaster is requesting to encrypt the information associated with TV listings, in the absence of which set-top boxes are unable to decode the TV content.
“We are committed to ensuring that public service content remains free to air i.e. unencrypted, the BBC said in a statement.
“However, HD content holders have begun to expect a degree of content management on the Freeview HD platform and therefore broadcasters have recognised that a form of copy protection is needed”, the broadcaster added.
Freeview HD is only a weeks away from launch and DRM protection will certainly remove one of the most attractive capabilities of modern television watching, the fact that you can record content for future viewing. The success of Freeview HD may depend on whether the BBC gets its DRM solution in place or not.